My favorite road trip website of all time is Roadside America, which likely started with a couple of guys driving down Route 66 taking pictures of whales and teepees, visiting folk artists in their mad castles and wondering why there are so many Paul Bunyon statues in America.
I totally made that history up but it seems completely reasonable.
I do know that Roadside America is now a repository for the picturesque and bizarre including Muffler Men locations, UFO museums and the world’s tiniest churches. And it’s all crowd sourced. If you see something weird you can take a picture of it, email them and they’ll post it on their site. There’s SO MUCH on that website that no matter where you are in America, I guarantee there’s something strange very near you.
On my epic road trip in 2011 I created most of my daily routes by visiting at least one Roadside America attraction and then trying to find a Bikram yoga studio. Believe me, that’s a full day of research right there.
Since all I’ve done today is drive, I present you with some interesting tidbits I’ve seen from the road over the last couple of days:
The roadside shrine, a common sight in the Southwest, but this one is particularly large, lovely and well kept. It’s right outside Miami AZ and full of pictures of people who aren’t with us any more. I hope they’re now being looked after by mother Mary.
Top-of-the-World is an actual settlement in Arizona with a couple hundred people living in a 6 mile area. First, I love the name and second I love that this trading post sells tires and fresh brewed coffee. Sadly it wasn’t open when I came by or I might have gotten some coffee.
However, there’s trouble in paradise because planned expansion of the highway could further divide Top of the World
I don’t completely understand the situation but it seems dire and there were lots of signs. I wish them well and I hope the trading post is open the next time I’m on highway 60.
If you looked at that picture and said to yourself, “what in the world…” then perhaps (like me) you need to turn your car around, drive back and get out so you can get closer.
That’s a tree with a lot of shoes in it. And a flamingo. My friend Jason thinks this is the result of a “Wizard of Oz style tornado,” which is as good a guess as any.
Personally, I’m confounded by the flamingo. Did someone have a plastic lawn ornament in their car and then they were all “hey there’s a tree full of shoes and we have this flamingo…”? There’s no explanation so feel free to make up your own. There are a lot of shoe trees in America but this one is not documented on Roadside America so I just might send it in.
I did blaze through Sedona on my way north and it was predictably stunning with all that red rock and greenery.
But frankly, I’m more intrigued by the shoe tree :)